While technology has changed many aspects of the way business is done today, business owners still need to find ways to cut costs while protecting their important files. For years, companies were forced to store their digital files on their own. Recently, another option, called cloud storage, has emerged which has been beneficial to many businesses. Before signing up for a cloud storage service facility, however, the advantages and disadvantages should be considered.
Why it’s a good idea
Cloud storage allows users to store digital files on remote servers that are maintained by the service provider. Several businesses have begun using such services in the last couple years due to the benefits it can provide.
- Accessibility – Typically, when files are stored on-site at a business, they can only be accessed by those in the office. Cloud storage allows easy access to those files by employees from any location and at any time as long as there is an Internet connection since the data is stored on a server elsewhere. This can be especially helpful for a company that has employees that travel a great deal on business or for those who work from home.
- Cost savings – Though the cost can vary between the different providers, using cloud storage can often be less expensive than maintaining files internally. Many service providers offer a limited amount of space for free. It is then easy to expand the space as the company grows and more is needed.
- Disaster protection – If a disaster, such as a fire or flood, occurs at a business that is storing all its files on-site, that data could be lost forever. Using the cloud to back up data offers the protection of redundancy by having that information saved in a remote location. Since protecting those files is the business of the cloud server company, they take certain precautions to keep their servers safe and secure.
Possible reasons to avoid cloud storage
While many businesses have begun using cloud storage for their digital files, such a system may not be beneficial to everyone.
- Privacy – Companies utilizing cloud storage run the risk of others gaining access to their files. Some cloud providers consider the data they store on their servers to be under their control. Their user agreements may entitle them to use the files for other purposes. It is important to read the terms and conditions before signing up to ensure sensitive data will be protected.
- Connection – Though cloud storage allows employees to access records from anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection, if that link is not available then the data will not be either. In addition, transferring large files to the cloud may require a large amount of bandwidth. If the company does not have this, uploading files could take quite some time.
- Security – Since data is stored with that from other organizations, there is a small risk of outside parties gaining access to a cloud’s servers. In recent months, several Internet-based companies have admitted to being hacked. This would also put the company’s files at risk.
Cloud storage has the potential to solve digital filing problems faced by some companies. There are some risks involved, so providers should be researched to find the right one. Once a good fit is found, cloud storage can be an inexpensive and easy way to store digital files.